Imagine, if you will, a speeding lorry racing along a motorway. Coming in the opposite direction, another lorry, gunning equally fast.
The first lorry’s cargo compartment contains the cast of the musical Grease.
Stored in the second lorry are the stars of the popular 50s courtroom drama, Perry Mason. Both vehicles smash into each other.
However, there’s no need for faint-hearted Post readers to be concerned. Nobody is injured.
Though only because the catastrophe is merely a convenient metaphor to illustrate the sensation of watching Legally Blonde.
And what a satisfying catastrophe it is.
The musical begins with one of those familiar ‘cheerleader meets campus hunk’ scenarios.
But before long we’re in courtroom territory, battling to save an innocent woman, doomed to be convicted of a crime she didn’t commit. How did we get here?
Well, blonde, beautiful (and just a bit bimboish) Elle Woods is smitten with handsome preppy, Warren Huntington the Third.
Unfortunately Warren is more interested in shaping a successful, yet tediously conventional, future for himself.
So he dumps fun-loving Elle just before matriculating at Harvard Law School.
But Elle has too much invested in the relationship to give up so easily.
She may be silly and superficial, but that doesn’t prevent her from enrolling at Harvard herself. Soon she is impressing her professor with a nuanced understanding of legal intricacies.
Which sounds rather serious, though believe me, Legally Blonde is anything but.
The highlight has to be the heated debate regarding whether a trial witness is gay or merely European.
It’s a wonderful piece, and the cast live up to the writing and direction... for the most part. The high-energy physicality of their performances are certainly up to scratch. When it comes to singing, however, there is too much nasal whinnying.
Some notes aren’t hit so much as clunked with a wooden mallet. (Though Claire Sweeney, as beauty shop owner Paulette Buonufonte, hits hers perfectly.)
On the whole, this boisterous and bonkers musical has the right pedigree to be a future classic.
Rating * * *